Architecture summer schools open diversified possibilities for a person to delve into different spheres in architecture and design-related scope of specific education that gives one an edge in thinking and designing with sensitivity and critical reasoning. These programs span from two to eight weeks of comprehensive course on a profoundly particular subject that disclose the covert knowledge to decipher by understanding how to apply and translate these theories and ideas to integrate into design and practice. The summer school courses include a combination of lectures from specialists in academic and profession, studio, workshops, site visits and self-study to get one thinking by utilising fundamental tools for research and development methods to experiment and recognise the working of any concept in two and three-dimensional drawings and models. It accelerates as a platform for organising and understanding inputs and respecting others in a team of diverse students and making substantial connections. The location of the summer school program allows students to participate with life, culture and cuisine in the local area in their leisure time from study. Here, a list of reasons one should take up architectural summer school:-

1. Expansion on design skills

Students apply to summer school programs to gain specific insight to tackling an aspect in the realm of architecture and design. Topics regarding Low-carbon footprint, sustainability, streetscape furniture, urban revival projects, architectural history and preservation gain popularity for their relevant market demands. Furthermore, students acquire an edge by demonstrating a project presentation inclusive of drawings and models that test their skills and highlight the aspect they bring to the table while working in a team with students from around the globe. The course adds credits onto the resume and gives a brief insight for those interested in taking up further studies in the subject matter. 

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A typical architectural studio during summer school.

2. A leap in personal development

An individual undergoes a transformation that builds a confident speaker in them to present their work, incorporates the role of being team players that contribute in a group activity that benefits to discover new versions of their identity capable of being independent. They learn to decide for themselves fully understanding possible consequences, handling their finances on daily expenses, researching and exploring the city through the lens they conceive best at a very rapid pace of just a few weeks. It helps develop a personality where they cultivate awareness and sensitivity towards others around them while staying true to their opinions that generates them as promising leaders of the future to make smart choices on arduous outcomes.

3. Make new friends and contacts

The summer schools attract students from around the globe bringing in a diversity of culture, languages and ethnicities under one roof where one begins to respect and understand each individual and their life. They share a solid bond at times and remain lifelong friends after the programme; at intervals of time, they do share a similar design philosophy that might grow into being professional colleagues soon. Students develop contact from guest lecturers, faculty of the host university and visiting faculty that help them elevate from their current state as designers and guide them through various transitional periods in life. Of course, they bring in insightful details that shape and mould a promising apprentice path towards growth and success in varied realms.


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Physical manifestation of project works into models.

4. Observe the local architecture scene

Students must develop a sensitive awareness to watch out for local architecture styles, building construction methods, types of materials, design elements, ornamentation and spatial requirements that differ from the place of their origin. Also, they require to understand the effects of climate and culture that majorly influence the basic layout of the houses. It opens up a prospective approach to thinking and understanding for clients with specific needs in the future; one can meet the local architects while in the summer school program or their leisure hours to understand and learn from the masters from their practice and projects.

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Understanding the effects of openings in a model with respect to climate using light sensors. © Subhay Baberwal.

5. Explore the city, culture and cuisine

During weekends and leisure hours, students get the opportunity to explore the dynamic characters and activities the city has to offer from touristy must-see spots to non-touristy locally famous hang-outs. Connecting with residents of the place helps discover hidden gems that mainstream tourism overlooks along with discussing the in and out current affairs, political scenario, culture and its influences that dictate their lifestyle, beliefs, food habits and palettes. The summer school does provide a brief tour on the famous historic and modern building to stitch the transformation of the built-environments through different eras shedding light into aspects of material, climate and biodiversity that adds value onto the peculiar design outcomes with endemic variants in elements

Dear readers, if this list hasn’t convinced you yet, here are a few testimonies by students from around the globe about their experience and takeaways by attending an architectural summer school. These insights amount to what one can expect from investing their time to study as well as encompass fun and frolic.

“The initial idea of attending summer school focused on expanding my knowledge in the field of sustainable architecture that I believe must incorporate in every realised project. We design spaces where people live, eat, work and sleep; influencing their daily lives positively without them realising. I gained invaluable knowledge and experience from talks and field visits in the United Kingdom along with meeting a fantastic group of people from different backgrounds that got us together through the field of architecture. The beauty of that to gather people in one space to generate an idea and common experience, an invaluable trait of architecture. – Diego Cubillos Pradilla, Spain.”

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Team discussion on project work with mentors for review and feedback.

 “ I learnt more specificities of sustainability, travelled and explored the country, met new people – some friends and some acquaintances from the summer school. I am thankful to meet a group of people whose company has been a pleasure and another group I worked with during the course where we produced good portfolio-worthy work. – Asil Zureigat, Jordan.”

“ The reason to enrol in a summer school is to explore an area of interest as a career choice with a small group of friends. I got a sense of where I stood amongst international peers for the first time in an academic setting and many impromptu travelling within the country. Met a diverse group of friends that sounds like a joke…5 Indians, 2 Egyptians, a Lebanese and a Chinese walked into the bar, ahh nostalgic memory. – Swathi Suvarna, India.”

“Summer schools like these establish more learning from process and study over structured syllabus education. Apart from the primary purpose of the programme on low-carbon-footprint, I learnt a little more about history ( Stonehenge) to present (Bio-domes) and the culture of the place. Also, I got to observe what it would be like to contribute to a cohort that is outside my comfort zone. There exists a splice in experience and design which culminates to what architecture is? such that,  there is no pressure to perform but instead the desire to imbibe. – Sama Arekal, India.”

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Strangers to friends for life at the end of the summer school. © Subhay Baberwal.

Subhay Baberwal, a practising architect at Taller-S and a visiting faculty at SJB School of architecture and planning, Bangalore. He is an art and culture enthusiast as well as a certified wildlife Eco-volunteer by the Karnataka Forest Department for activities regarding conservation, census, preservation. Furthermore, he is a poet and currently exploring his voice in architecture writing along with being a ghostwriter for mobile application, fashion collections and bloggers.